The building was originally a literary institution with a large lecture room, a reading room, classrooms and a library. In 1912, Albany Ward converted the lecture room into the Palace Cinema which was also used for plays, operas and music.
The Athenaeum has been closed three times in its history, most recently in 1997, when West Wiltshire District Council stopped funding several halls in its five towns. There was then believed to be a danger of the building being sold, demolished, or redeveloped, but the District Council handed over trusteeship of the charity which owns the building to the newly formed Athenaeum Trust. The trust launched a restoration appeal, and by 2015 had already spent over £100,000 on the building, cleaning the facade, replacing the roof, and completely refurbishing the bar and function room.
- Historic England. "The Athenaeum (1364433)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 19 May 2017.
- "Victoria County History: Wiltshire: Vol 8 pp132-134 - Warminster: Schools". British History Online. University of London. 1965. Retrieved 19 May 2017.
- "Athenaeum (Warminster)". The Theatres Trust. Retrieved 19 May 2017.
- "Our History". www.theath.org.uk. Retrieved 19 May 2017.
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